New Delhi, Oct 15 (UNI) Ace Pro Gaurav Ghei will lead the star parade, as top golfers of the continent showcase their wares in Rs 80 lakh prize money BILT open Golf, to be played at Jaypee Greens in Noida from October 18 to 21.
The Pro-Am of this country's richest golf tournament on the domestic tour, PGTI, will be played on October 17.
However, holder Jyoti Randhawa will not be there to defend his title as he has gone to Portugal to play there.
Still the field is very strong, as it includes among others Asian Tour winner Gaurav Ghei (currently ranked sixth on the Asian Tour), Unho Park (ranked 20th on the Asian Tour), 2006 PGTI Order of Merit winner Ashok Kumar, 2006 BILT Open runner-up Lam Chih Bing, Harmeet Kahlon and Shahid Javed Khan.
Talking to newspersons here this afternoon, Gaurav said this, ''Richest tournament in Indian professional golf, BILT Open signals the future of the sport.'' He said golf is fast growing sports in the country and tournament like BILT Open will give more boost to it. ''It is intresting that several Asian players will be seen in this Indian tournament which is a good thing,'' he added.
Singapore Lam Chih Bing said, ''BILT Open is a special event, and I am looking to win it this time around.'' ''And with Jyoti Randhawa not around, all of us now have a good chance,'' he added amidst laughter.
Korean UNHO Park said he was happy that BILT open will be played at Jaypee Greens, ''It is always nice to play some where else after having already played at Delhi Golf Club for the Indian Open.'' Promising Delhi pro Ashok Kumar was of the view that, ''BILT Open showcases the best talent and highest level of competition in the country, (and) I am delighted to be competing in this tournament.'' The tournament is a 72-hole strokeplay championship and cut will be applied after 36-holes. Thereafter, the top 50 players and ties will play over the weekend.
Tour Commissioner PGTI Ajai Gupta, thanked BILT for sponsoring the Open and for increasing the prize money from Rs 70 lakh last year to Rs 80 lakh this year.
He said this year PGTI will double the numbers of tournaments, than the last year.
''We conducted ten tournaments and we plan to double it this year around. We already have ten sponsers and more are joining us and we will announce the detailed calender and total prize money involved in next few days,'' Ajai said.
Last year PGTI tour was worth Rs 4.5 crores, and Ajai hoped that it will go up to Rs eight crores this year.